After a frantic four days of action, Timbers Academy alumni at three different universities have advanced to the next round of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer tournament.
We start with Thursday's matches, when Academy alumni at Creighton University, Akron University, and the University of Portland all saw action in the tournament's first round of games.
Against Tulsa, the unseeded Creighton Bluejays ran roughshod over the Golden Hurricane, scoring two goals within the first six minutes of the match before adding a third in the second half. Former Academy defender Peter Prescott and his teammates held firm in the back, shutting out Tulsa en route to the 3-0 victory.
On the other side of the bracket, the University of Akron defeated its first round opponent, Villanova, 2-0 behind a pair of goals from Nick Hinds. Former Timbers Academy grad Niko De Vera started and played the full 90 minutes in defense for the Zips.
However, Gio Magana-Rivera, Reid Baez and his University of Portland teammates came very close but couldn't quite advance.
The Pilots had to go on the road to Albuquerque, N.M. to face the University of New Mexico where the two teams, evenly matched, played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer before heading to penalty kicks to decide the match.
In penalty kicks, the Lobos took a commanding 3-1 lead before goalkeeper Paul Christensen came up huge for the Pilots, denying two penalty kicks in a row and giving his teammates an opportunity to equalize. They did just that when the Pilots' Matthew Coffey finished the team's fifth penalty kick attempt to level the score at 3-3.
Unfortunately for the Pilots, though, it was Lobos goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu who emerged the ultimate hero, stopping Brandon Zambrano's penalty kick to send New Mexico into the next round of the tournament with a 6-5 victory.
Magana-Rivera, a freshman midfielder, played 104 minutes in the match while registering one shot.
On Sunday, Creighton and Akron both returned to action.
The Bluejays flew to Lexington, Ky. to face the 16th seeded University of Kentucky. If the Creighton players were at all daunted by the short rest, the travel, or the opponent, it didn't show as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead before half time. While the Wildcats made a game of it with Kevin Barajas' 68th minute goal, Creighton's Karim Saraf iced the match with with a goal only 10 minutes later.
Prescott again started and played the full 90 in defense as Creighton held firm to advance with a 3-2 victory. The Bluejays will next play a surprise opponent, Providence University – who knocked off No. 1 seed Maryland Sunday – for a chance at a quarterfinal berth.
Unlike Creighton, Akron fell to its second round opponent, the 7th seeded University of Indiana, 1-0 on Sunday in Bloomington. On short rest, De Vera played 45 minutes in the loss.
Timbers U-23s alum Tucker Hume played a big part in North Carolina's 3-2 overtime win over Florida Gulf Coast University Sunday as the forward scored a brace in the victory including the game-winner in the 105th minute. They take on Syracuse next on Nov. 27.
In its first match of the tournament, Stanford University took on the University of the Pacific at its home stadium. Behind a goal from Timbers Academy grad Foster Langsdorf – his 13th in all competitions this season – and one from defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Stanford defeated the Tigers 2-0 to advance to the next round of the tournament.
Academy grads Langsdorf and Sam Werner – who played 36 minutes against Pacific – combined for six of Stanford's 22 shots.
The Cardinal will next play host to former Academy and T2 midfielder Terrell Lowe and his University of Virginia Cavaliers in the tournament's third round.
Lowe started and played 103 minutes in the Cavaliers' difficult, come-from-behind 2-1 overtime victory over the University of Vermont to help send his team through to the next round where they will go head-to-head with Langsdorf, Werner, and the 5th seeded Cardinal.